sat 09/12/2023

The Cut (episode five), BBC Switch | reviews, news & interviews

The Cut (episode five), BBC Switch

The Cut (episode five), BBC Switch

Saga of lost plot plods on

“If you've been affected by any of the issues in this episode, click here.” I wouldn’t bother. Really. In fact I haven’t put the link in. They are – trust me - just ticking boxes. Some kind of Ofcom diktat. “If you’ve been affected bla bla bla,” it says when you click, “here are the details of organisations that can provide help and support.” It’s a long old list. You’ve probably not got the time, but here goes.

There's a whole Rotadex of numbers for the Samaritans, Childline, Missing People, Drinkline, the Terence Higgins Trust, the Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, helplines offering advice on self-harm, eating disorders, addiction to gambling and smoking, male rape, sexual and/or mental health. I think that’s the lot.

No mention of PlotAnon, I see. I’ve been affected by issues arising from The Cut and it’s PlotAnon I want to call. “Er, it's... er, I’ve got a thing about... this isn't easy to say... I'm addicted to... to, ahem, narrative. There, said it. Feels a lot better. Wow. Started getting interested in plots the minute I was first exposed to them. Then a friend introduced me to erratically dubbed foreign imports with great theme tunes and I was hooked... So one thing led to another and it pretty much spiralled out of control and now if there isn’t a plot I find I just can’t bear to watch.”

I’m not such a soap fan. I have never kicked around at water coolers the morning after last night, mulling over whose innocent nether regions will be invaded next by which proletarian blaggard. I think I’ve seen one ep of Corrie. And being on the reviewing roster the night Martine McCutcheon got run over, I obviously had to tune in. And that’s about it. But you pick up the gist from pointless radio phone-ins and prime ministerial interventions - enough to know that soaps stimulate an addiction to events, dear boy, events.

The Cut’s progress across the week, five anorexic minutes at a time, has faithfully disseminated a Beckettian Weltanschauung in which the universe is essentially devoid of structure or meaning. It was once notably said of Waiting for Godot that nothing happens, twice. In The Cut, nothing doesn’t even happen once. Yes there was morgue scene, someone found some knickers, a letter got posted and an extremely feeble punch has been thrown. But no one has yet contemplated suicide, run away, taken drugs, had sex with someone from the opposite or the same gender or got up to any other popular teen activities. No one's off their food. No one’s so much as lit up a fag. The volunteers staffing the lines can put their feet up this weekend. You’re in as much danger of being affected by these issues from watching The Cut as of being squashed by an elephant that isn’t even in the room.

So seriously. Is it a good idea to parcel out drama in such slender portions? The rationale is that the target audience is too busy busy busy to commit to more than five minutes a day. Could that possibly be because they’ve got five hours’ viewing already scheduled? Maybe The Cut’ll suddenly cut the mustard in the omnibus edition. It’s available from midday. I really think I'll pass. Got plans.

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